“For though we walk in the flesh,
we do not war according to the flesh,
for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh,
but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God,
and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,
and we are ready to punish all disobedience,
whenever your obedience is complete.”
That is a scripture I desire to learn and know on a deeper level.
The Jews were expecting a Warrior King, skilled in the typical manner of warfare as the human condition knows it, to appear as their Messiah. Jesus didn’t quite fit the bill of their expectations. It didn’t matter that He was way more versed on the true nature of the real enemy and skilled in warfare beyond their wildest imaginations, they missed recognizing Him for what He truly was and is. They crucified Him as a means of His ultimate defeat yet it turned into His amazing victory with His resurrection three days later.
“For we know in part,…
but when the perfect comes,
the partial will be done away.
When I was a child,
I used to speak as a child,
think as a child,
reason as a child;
when I became a man,
I did away with childish things.
For now we see in a mirror dimly,
but then face to face;
now I know in part,
but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.”
Only human hubris can make me think that I know all there is to know and that I have all things figured out. Life is complex and as we age shows us how little we really know, but I look forward to the day of being able to know fully just as I am fully known.
Reading my first Western Novel not only influenced me to explore drinking it also influenced my attitude regarding fighting. I’ve had my share of trading physical blows. It seems that when I had no business fighting I didn’t fare too well. There was a good lesson for me in those experiences.
“Do not contend with a man without cause, if he has done you no harm.” Proverbs 3:30
There is also one maybe two occasions where physically I fared well, but I am ashamed for the fight I allowed myself to become involved in. Nuff said.
My favorite means of fighting these days is on the chessboard where no physical damage can be done.
I play as dbr on chesshere.com if there are any players out there that like a good battle and care to send me a challenge.
Chess is a good game for spouses to know too. If your spouse needs a good beating just reach for the chessboard. It will keep the domestic violence police out of your home.
Besides, regardless of the physical outcome of a fight with a woman, I believe a man loses anytime he strikes a woman.
I teach my girls, 1 strike and they’re out!
My wife could be a pretty good chess player if she played more. She can and has beat me. If she played you she wouldn’t want to beat you anymore than the man in the moon, but when she sits across the chessboard from me she wants to see my blood flow.
Why is that ladies? (no serious replies necessary).
I woke up Saturday morning with this fighting theme on my mind for my next tall tale post, but writing was delayed due to my niece treating my wife and I to “The Blind Side”.
This movie is definitely worth watching if you have not seen it. It is a pretty good battle of a different sort that makes my juvenile physical fights pale in comparison. Oh well, I guess I’ll share some of them anyhow.
I was the new kid on the school yard when I started 1st grade, and my first recess arrived. I got stiff armed for my lunch money by a couple of older kids. I really don’t remember what all happened. I don’t recall if they got my money or not, but I do know they never bothered trying to stiff arm me again. This was a time period before I read my first western novel, but I watched plenty of the Saturday fare for television in that day, Roy Rogers, Tarzan, Popeye, etc. The things that media can expose us to. Actually I liked the stuff that I watched in those days when I was a kid. It’s the stuff that came along later that caused me to not have a TV hooked up in my house during all my adult days, and through the raising of my children . We do watch movies though. I feel I have more control over the selection and can discuss anything viewed when necessary. Go figure…
I remember observing several school yard fights during elementary school. Most of them only amounted to name calling and shoving matches. I told myself that if I ever had a school yard fight I wouldn’t do that junk. Well, my day came. Some contention arose with a kid who was physically pretty evenly matched with me. He was a big Mohammad Ali fan. The contention reached a point where we decided we would meet at the back of the school yard during recess and settle it. At the fight scene location he started dancing around like Ali while I just hunkered down like George Foreman. I tagged him a couple of times. He stopped his dancing and put his hands up in the classic “timeout signal” while verbally announcing, “Time out!”
I stopped momentarily and replied, “Timeout? There ain’t no timeouts in a real fight!” and I tagged him again. This continued for a little bit until his nose developed a good bleed and he said, “I quit!”
That was fine with me. I let him. Shortly after a teacher monitoring the school yard during recess called me over. She said, “David, did you do that to poor little Terry?” He wasn’t little. He was every bit my size.
I said, “Yes ma’am.”
She said, “Well you ought to be ashamed of yourself, now go on.”
Sometime after that fight I tried to pick a fight with a big ole boy named Floyd Gillis. He was kind of like Big Mike on the Blind Side. He was a gentle giant. I was foolish and he was kind. I was like a persistent little juvenile gnat of which he soon tired. He placed me in a headlock and gave me a pretty solid thump on top of my head using only enough force to bring me to my senses. He could have hurt me a lot worse, but he only used the force that was necessary to do the job. It was a good lesson for me, and I appreciated it.
Fighting can be dangerous. When you get beyond the elementary school level you never know what the outcome might be. I know a fellow pilot whose son ended up in prison for manslaughter because the outcome of a fight he was involved in turned deadly. It is much better to walk away when you can. All the martial arts, especially the good ones, teach that so I’m told. Still, there is no reason to allow a bully to have his way if you can help it. Physical fighting is not necessarily the only means you have to deal with one. There are other methods. Choose wisely.
“Therefore … I box in such a way, as not beating the air;” 1 Corinthians 9:26
If whatever you do is simply going to be just beating the air, don’t waste your time. If conflict will not cause the desired outcome, it’s probably best to avoid it. If you are outgunned and out manned, the better part of valor can be discretion. Better to live another day so that you may be able to fight again some other time. But, when push comes to shove and you are all out of options, hope your motives are pure and your cause is good and go for it! Maybe the gods will smile upon you and you will prevail, but… you better be able to face an outcome not to your liking, cause you just don’t know until it is all fait accompli and the denouement is set in stone what that outcome will be.
I had a memorable fight in the eleventh grade. I didn’t ask for it, but it came to me just the same. I had an agricultural shop class. One day a substitute teacher took us out of the classroom to look at and discuss trees. There was a pickup truck near where we had congregated outside. The tailgate was down. A couple of my friends were sitting on it. There was an open spot I decided to sit on. When I sat down, one of the black students of similar size and build stuck his hand where I was going to sit. I didn’t see it, but I did sit on it. I don’t know if he was innocent and I sat on his hand accidentally or if he saw me about to sit down and stuck it there on purpose so that he would have cause for provocation.
Regardless, he was plenty provoked. He was calling me out ready to resolve his provocation. I didn’t really want to fight, but in the eleventh grade with the crew I ran with during those days I needed to save face, so I stood with fists raised to get it on since I had been challenged. He gave me a good tag to the nose striking the first blow. Then we tangled up. The fight didn’t progress far before it was broken up. The biggest black student in the school who was also the star football player pulled me away while the white coach substitute teacher pulled the black student apart from me.
Everybody claimed I was beat; even my friends. In my mind the issue was unresolved, cause not enough fight had taken place to honestly tell who really won. But, I was branded the loser.
The principle suspended us both for three days. My daddy tanned my hide good when I got home, so I suffered double. (I can’t really recall the exact punishment my dad meted out, but it wasn’t pleasant) My girlfriend who was a senior was not happy with me since I missed three days of school. I was on the losing end of the deal all the way around.
Years later a boisterous large female flight nurse I worked with tagged me as passive aggressive. It was a new term for me, but after researching it there may be some truth to her perspective. But, that is just another Tall Tale for some other day.
Like Proverbs 3:30 mentioned above, I really prefer to have no contention. I like what Rodney King said, “Can’t we all just get along?” I wish we could, but sometimes others decide to exercise their will over you in an unacceptable manner. It is kind of hard to just get along then, especially when you are attempting to live in a peaceful manner without justice being abused.
The seniors got out of school two weeks before everybody else. Before that day came my dad had justly evicted me from his home. Sorry, I won’t share that story and like I said previously there is plenty I would change if I could do it all over again. Next to Jesus, my Dad is my hero and someone I have the greatest respect for. So, the first day the seniors were gone, I had nothing to lose. It was a good time for some previous unresolved resolution. I picked this up coming fight on purpose; right or wrong.
All day in shop class I didn’t pay any attention to the teacher or focus on any projects except Mr. Leroy, the student I had my previous fight with that everyone said I lost. I spent my class time simply observing him. He knew I was looking at him. I wasn't trying to hide it. Finally shop class was close to over. Leroy went into the male restroom with about five other black students to wash his hands. I followed them in. I was the only white boy in there. Once the door was shut, Leroy started mouthing off without me having to say anything, “As soon as school is over, I’m going to kick your blankity, blank white blank across the street.”
I said, “I’m here right now. Let’s do it.”
He said, “I can’t afford to get suspended again. But, I’m going to get you boy.”
I just shrugged my shoulders in a manner to say, “Okay”.
After everyone's hands were all washed we returned to the classroom to wait for the bell.
I spent my time keeping my eye on Mr. Leroy and he knew it.
When the bell finally rang I kept my seat until Leroy got up. When he rose I rose. I met him and walked out of the classroom side by side with Mr. Leroy. As we crossed through the threshold of the classroom door, Mr. Leroy started spouting some expletives under his breath. I just reached over and grabbed a wad of hair on top of his head and started curling my two fists to each other hitting him in the face. This fight too was quickly broken up with no serious physical injury to either of us. We were sent to the principal’s office once more.
In the principal’s office I was silent while Mr. Leroy constantly and continually mouthed off how I hit him first and he had to defend himself. I just sat there and listened as did the principal until Mr. Leroy finally settled down some. Then the principal looked at me and said, “Do you have anything to say?”
I said, “Yes sir. He hit me first the first time.” That was all I said.
The principal suspended us both for another three days. Leroy and I never had anymore contention. I really don’t know how his life turned out. I hope he has fared well.
Night vision techniques…
I was a military nighthawk instructor pilot. Years later after being out of the military I was sharing with a friend that grew up in my neighboring parish about nighthawk techniques to maintain good night vision. He said, “I’ve known about that for a long time. We used to have fights set up out in the woods at night. My side would always make sure we got there first. When the opposing side arrived, we would have a couple of guys meet the opposing side with a bright flashlight. They would say, ‘we just want to make sure this is going to be a friendly fight and check you for weapons.”
As they checked for weapons they would make sure that they shined their flashlight beam into the opposing fighter’s eyes ruining his night vision while their fighter was in the dark with his night vision intact. After a quick weapons check they would say while shining their light toward their fighter without getting the beam in his eyes, “There he is, get after it.”
My friend’s fighter had a significant advantage with his night vision intact while the opposing fighter was now at a considerable disadvantage, and usually ignorant about his predicament. Bad guys will stack the deck in their favor too when they have enough sense to do so. In serious fighting fair goes out the window, so if you are going to get yourself in a fight, be careful.
My friend that grew up in Livingston Parish also told me the story about going to Memphis to pickup a friend at the airport. He decided to stop into a KFC to get some chicken before arriving at the airport terminal. After getting his chicken, he headed to an empty table in the back of the KFC to enjoy his meal. Shortly after sitting down, two rough looking black men walked in and looked around. My friend was the only white guy in the place. After spotting him the two black men walked directly to him and said in an intimidating and mean tone, “We’re fix’n to order us some chicken, and when we get it we’re coming back here to eat it and we don’t want to see you.”
My friend looked up at them as they spoke, and when they finished he craned his head around in an exaggerated fashion to look at the front counter. Then he looked at the two men that had accosted him and said, “Well you better hope that that customer line up there grows real long real fast, cause I’m going to stay here and enjoy my chicken until I’m done.”
When the two men saw my friend wasn’t going to scare they became more friendly.
I told my friend after he told me the story, “I’m glad that was you and not me.”
I have another friend that I’ll probably share more stories about that was my favorite high school running buddy. He was a fighting bad dude. I’ve never fought him and I’m glad I haven’t. Anyhow he had a fight with a boy named Kelly where Kelly lost. Kelly related the fight to another friend Kelcy, with the reason why he though Smitty won. Smitty was good at stacking the deck in his favor. Kelcy said, “If that’s how that fight went down, I think I could whip him.” That was the wrong thing for a high school kid to say in a school where testosterone was running rampant. In order to allow others to maintain face you had to be careful about stating who you thought you could whip in a fight.
A new fight was on due to the foolishness of a high school kid's mouth. This was scheduled to be one of those backwoods after dark fights. We weren’t as smart as our Livingston Parish neighbors, but Smitty didn’t need the night vision edge. I rode with Kelcy to the location the fight was to take place to make sure he showed up. Smitty had arrived first. When Kelcy and I got to the spot, there were not too many other spectators. As we got out of Kelcy’s truck and approached Smitty the cars started pulling in full of spectators to watch the fight.
Smitty said, “Man! Look at all these cars. We can’t fight now, the cops are going to be here soon.”
You could see Kelcy physically relax as if to say, “Yeah, we can’t fight now”. His relief was apparent, then Smitty struck his first blow. The fight was vicious. Smitty was like a pile driver. Kelcy ended up on his knees. Smitty delivered the final blow kicking him in the head. It sounded like a 2x4 cracking in half. Kelcy took a tremendous beating. I’m grateful and surprised that he physically survived as well as he did. He was tough, even though he lost. Thank God Smitty didn’t have to face any manslaughter charges as a result of that fight’s outcome. Juveniles can fight for foolish reasons. I don’t recommend it.
Years later while I attended LSU and after I had had my born again experience Smitty would sometimes stay on my apartment couch. One night he went bar hopping on his own. I was usually his designated driver in those days. More tall tales for another time… Anyhow, Smitty hooked up with a girl he just met and was riding in the backseat of a car with his new girl while a stranger with his own girl riding upfront was giving Smitty a ride back to my apartment. Once they got in the Projects (my apartment complex was 80% black and 20% white) the man driving pulled out a gun and held it up for Smitty to see as if to say, “I’m in control here”. Smitty snatched the gun out of the man’s hand and exited the car. Then he tossed the gun over a six foot high chainlink fence with two Doberman pincers behind it. Smitty then came into my apartment obviously outraged and worked up, “Come on “RowBear” we got a fight!”
It wasn’t my fight. “Like one who takes a dog by the ears Is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him.” Proverbs 26:17 Friends should back friends up, but not if it involves foolishness… ” Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man, But any fool will quarrel.” Proverbs 20:3 I told Smitty that I didn’t want any part of it. He started to focus his anger on me. I just went into my bedroom and closed the door. Fortunately he didn’t persue. I know I had more to fear from Smitty, even though he was and is my friend, than I had from the de-armed stranger outside my apartment. Smitty had also bailed me out of a stupid situation that I put myself in and probably would have prevented me from going to flight school if Smitty had not intervened previously. I owed him, but there is a time to grow up and give up childish ways. There's another tall tale for another day. I still consider Smitty my best friend although I wish we still had more contact than we do these days. Hope all is well in your life my friend!
Watching “The Blind Side” made me think of Albert. I find “The Blind Side” an amazing and uplifting story. I also believe the woman Sandra Bullock played knows how to hear God. There was a lot of potential for calamity in that story, but God knew and knows Michael (Big Mike) and knew that woman could hear His voice as she ought. That is one of my greatest wishes in life; to be able to hear as I ought.
I had a fig tree experience while attending LSU. There are two fig tree stories about bearing fruit in the Bible: Matthew 21: 19 and Luke 13:6 fortunately I had the Luke 13 story experience. Anyhow during that time I attended David Diamond’s charismatic church in Baton Rouge which was about 50% black and 50% white. One evening when I returned to my apartment after attending David Diamond’s service I felt to tuck my Bible under my arm and head out into the project’s parking lot. I was led to a group of blacks that seemed to be antagonizing Albert, an older debilitated black man.
I felt the Lord tell me I needed to talk to this old man. "Take him to your apartment where y’all can talk", I felt that still quiet voice leading me.
I told Albert, “You need to follow me.”
He did like a good little child. I led him back to my apartment.
He was amazed that a white boy let him into his apartment. He sat in a chair and looked around with curiosity. Then he said, “You mean I can have something to drink?” He talked with a slow stutter.
I said, “Yea, if you need something to drink I have some ice tea or lemonade. What do you want?”
He chose lemonade. While sipping his lemonade he said, “You mean I can have something to eat?”
I said, “Yea, if you’re hungry I guess I can fix something up.”
I ended up fixing him some bacon, eggs, and grits.
As he was finishing his plate he said, “You mean I can stay here?”
I said to God in my mind, “Good God, you told me to talk to this man. Not give him a place to live!”
I heard God’s gentle quiet voice say, “If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?” James2:15,16
I felt like He was testing my heart and seeing how far I would go for Him.
I then told Albert, “If you really need a place to stay, I guess you can stay on my couch.”
Albert stayed with me for two weeks. There are some more stories during that time, but one I’ll share now is when Smitty showed up to spend the night.
Albert realized Smitty was going to stay the night. Previously he respected the space of my bedroom and never went back there, but this time he immediately went into my bedroom where I was.
He asked, “Da, Dav, David, that white boy gonna stay here tonight.”
I looked at Albert and said, “Yeah.”
He thought about that a moment and then continued, “W…well, he’s not gonna sleep on my couch! Is he?”
Man, I didn’t want to get in the middle of that. Smitty was like the king dog. He required the best that was reasonably available. He had to have the best chair… etc. He did respect my bedroom. I didn’t have to give that up for him, cause that could have been something necessary to fight over in order to save face. Anyhow, I looked at Albert and said, “If you don’t want him to have your couch, just tell him.”
He thought about that a bit. Then he said, “Okay, I will”.
He then left my bedroom to go and accost Smitty.
He began, “Hey white boy, y…you gonna stay here tonight?”
Smitty looked at Albert with extreme skepticism. Albert’s story was that when he was eighteen he was a fighting bad buck; always getting into fights. They took him and locked him up into Jackson the Louisiana mental hospital for ten years and broke him down with drugs. Albert hadn’t been released for too long when I found him. He looked older than he was.
Smitty looked at Albert and said, “Yeah.”
Albert said, “W…well, you’re not gonna sleep on MY couch, are you?”
Smitty looked at the couch, then he looked at Albert and said, “No.”
Smitty slept on the floor. I was amazed. Later Smitty told me, “RowBear! You’re crazy. That man will kill you in your sleep.”
I just smiled. The Lord had already told me all I needed to know about Albert. In all honesty I had more to fear from Smitty.
All stories are unique. I like good outcomes. If you haven’t seen “The Blind Side”, be sure to add it to your list for must see movies. That was one gutsy woman. I let Albert live with me when I was single and only had my life to lose. Since I’ve been married with a responsibility to my wife and children I’ve curbed my hitchhiking and have had pretty stiff rules about letting any males, even my children’s cousins, outside my immediate family stay under my roof.
I guess the Lord showed the woman in the movie all she really needed to know about Michael and it seems she heard right. She was a pretty good fighter too; lots of spunk and savvy.
Well, that’s my tall tale for today…ciao